- Ben Margot/AP
The Golden State Warriors got lucky when it was announced that Stephen Curry only had a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee after taking a scary fall in the playoffs.
Curry is supposed to be re-evaluated in two weeks, but some believe that he could be back sooner.
It was nearly a disastrous turn of events for the Warriors. They rattled off the greatest regular-season record in NBA history, only to nearly have their championship dreams crushed just four games into the playoffs. Had Curry, say, torn his MCL, he would likely be out for the rest of the playoffs, and the Warriors’ chances of repeating as champions would have taken a big hit.
Having faced that possibility, the Warriors are now more determined to chase Kevin Durant as insurance, according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
If they landed Durant and lost Curry again in the 2017 playoffs, the Warriors would still have Durant. If they signed Durant and lost him to an injury, they’d still have Curry.
This is why they want Durant, right here, this current situation, because two superstars (both in their primes) is better than one (or 1.5 if you count Green or Thompson as near-superstars).
The Warriors have circled Durant for years and will be willing to toss over a goodly portion of their 73-victory roster and jeopardize this team’s wonderful chemistry this summer.
This is not a new development. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported during the regular season that if Durant decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Warriors would be front-runners. Kawakami says Curry’s injury hasn’t “changed” anything for the Warriors. Rather, it seems it merely confirmed that adding Durant would be worthwhile.
As Kawakami notes, the Warriors don’t have the salary cap space to sign Durant outright. They would likely have to clear salary, perhaps getting rid of the combined $22 million that Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut will make next season. They may also lose restricted free agents like Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli should they sign offer sheets with other teams before the Warriors could secure Durant.
This plan has always been met with a bit of skepticism. Why would the Warriors be willing to break up perhaps the greatest team in NBA history for one player? There’s not only risk in blowing up depth to sign Durant, but it could hurt team chemistry, too.
Curry’s injury answers those questions. Should one of their best players go down, the Warriors would still have a core talented enough to compete for a championship. There’s no guarantee any “super team” will ever jell on the court, but the thought of the Warriors trotting out a lineup with Curry, Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green is scary enough. With its combination of shooting and ball-handling, it’s a virtually indefensible lineup.
The NBA should be terrified of this prospect – especially now that the interest between both sides seems mutual and real.